When to fire a customer

It’s not something that CEO’s like to hear…but there are times when you need to fire a customer for good.

A few weeks ago my customer service manager informed me about a particularly unpleasant customer. In fact, the customer was not just rude and unprofessional but just outright abusive to my staff. And that’s where I draw a clear line. I told my customer service manager to refund the customers’ order and close his account permanently. As part of our company’s culture we do not tolerate offensive and unmannerly behavior and thus, prefer to part ways with these individuals. The damage that this type of behavior causes to my staff’s morale and spirit is not worth it.

Don’t Let Rude & Abusive Behavior Kill Your Team’s Morale. It’s Not Worth It.

Now, while these cases are very rare in our business (maybe once a year or so) there’s another scenario that requires us to make the tough decision to cut a customer…and this one is much more frequent and harder to deal with. I am talking about the customers that buy very little from us, very infrequently and always ask for special, custom solutions. In the end, these small deals never add up to much and we always lose money on them. While we go out of our way to keep our customers happy, we do have a few clients on our list that have taken advantage of this for years and years.

We have now implemented clear minimums with regards to order sizes that we apply to all orders and customers. Also, we have eliminated many one-off services we have offered in the past because they were not profitable and never led to the anticipated ‘big deal’. As a result, our business is growing faster than ever before because we now can focus more on the customers that invest significantly in our products & services.

We communicated these changes clearly and openly to our customers and so far, all of them understand our approach. We might lose some clients going forward but honestly, these weren’t the type of clients we wanted to begin with.

Please share your thoughts on firing your clients below.


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